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Space Science

Do We Live In a Giant Cosmic Bubble? 344

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-live-in-my-own-universe dept.
Khemisty writes "Earth may be trapped in an abnormal bubble of space-time that is particularly void of matter. Scientists say this condition could account for the apparent acceleration of the universe's expansion, for which dark energy currently is the leading explanation. Until now, there has been no good way to choose between dark energy or the void explanation, but a new study outlines a potential test of the bubble scenario. If we were in an unusually sparse area of the universe, then things could look farther away than they really are and there would be no need to rely on dark energy as an explanation for certain astronomical observations. 'If we lived in a very large under-density, then the space-time itself wouldn't be accelerating,' said researcher Timothy Clifton of Oxford University in England. 'It would just be that the observations, if interpreted in the usual way, would look like they were.'"
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Do We Live In a Giant Cosmic Bubble?

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  • I know I do (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:21AM (#25219241)
    Like, cosmic, man.
  • I always wondered... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clonan (64380) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:22AM (#25219271)

    If this was why the galaxies appear to rotate to quickly at the edges.

    Would the greater density at the galactic cores cause time to go slower and effect the apparent speed as observed from the exterier of the system?

    • by Goaway (82658) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:28AM (#25219407) Homepage

      No. The gravitational forces required for time dilation to be that strong are many orders of magnitude stronger than what you'll find on the galactic scale.

      • You mean like... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by clonan (64380)

        a 3 million sun heavy black hole...like the one in the center of many galaxies including our own?

        • Re:You mean like... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Quietust (205670) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:55AM (#25219923) Homepage
          There would definitely be significant time dilation in close proximity to said black holes, but beyond even a fraction of a light year it would become negligible due to the rate at which gravitational force weakens.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by caramelcarrot (778148)
          The gravity from a 3 million sun black hole is no different to 3 million suns, and given that a galaxy will contain billions of such suns - no, that's not sufficient.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Lumpy (12016)

            incorrect. The gravity from a 3 million sun black hole has a deeper center than if you took 3 million suns and stacked them in a sphere just touching each other.

            The gravity well of the two is quite different. one will be huge because the gravity mass is spread out at last a few hundred thousand suns wide in all directions and the other has a gravity mass that is far FAR smaller. This making the sides of the gravity well steeper and causing a very defined terminator line compared to that of the giant bal

            • Re:You mean like... (Score:4, Informative)

              by caramelcarrot (778148) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @01:32PM (#25221509)
              Considering the point was related to the effects of such a black hole on the outskirts on the galaxy, then yes, the oddities of the gravitational field of the black hole are on a massively smaller scale and totally irrelevant. Your point that the field isn't exactly the same is true, but pedantic and irrelevant to the discussion.
  • Being special (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:23AM (#25219291) Homepage Journal

    Ok, I'll believe that there are regions of space that are more dense than others. I'll even believe that we are in one of them. ( This is no harder than believing in dark matter and dark energy, and it's before breakfast )
    But what I find hard to believe is that we are in the exact center of such a region. So therefore, the universe should appear to have different properties in different directions. Has anybody seen that?

    • by BigGar' (411008) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:29AM (#25219431) Homepage

      Man you ain't kidding. Take a look at the Capitol Hill region of space. That is one ultra dense region of hot air, that isn't just warping space-time this is a region of space where the wildest of idea's are warped into reality.

      • Dark Matter (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:10PM (#25220187)

        Capitol Hill region of space. That is one ultra dense region of hot air

        Actually, that particular region of the universe consists of dark matter. It's an enormous pile of it, brown in color, steaming and giving off fetid odors that would knock a buzzard off a shit-wagon*. The region is full of it and amazingly, endless numbers of primitive little life-forms actually burrow themselves into it and suck nutrition from it.

        * We miss you, George.

    • Re:Being special (Score:5, Interesting)

      by someone1234 (830754) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:30AM (#25219455)

      Except if such specialties make our sentient life possible (or much more probable).

      • by tepples (727027)

        Except if such specialties make our sentient life possible (or much more probable).

        That's called the anthropic principle, and Wikipedia's article [wikipedia.org] cites criticisms by several philosophers of science who call it a cop-out.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:58AM (#25219983)

          It's perfectly reasonable to think that, if sentient life requires unusual circumstances, then we will find ourselves in unusual circumstances.

          It's already the case that we're in a rather odd location. Pick a random point in the universe. Does it happen to be on the surface of a planet? Of course not.

        • by caramelcarrot (778148) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:02PM (#25220051)
          It's not really a cop out if you can actually give the statistically biasing action. It is a bit of a cop out to just say "specialties make our sentient life possible (or much more probable)" but if you can quantify this, then it would be possible to quantify the experimental bias. The anthropic principle is a lot more rigorous than people give it credit for. Of course rare events are always possible, too.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            It's not really a cop out if you can actually give the statistically biasing action.

            Since they can't actually give that (whatever it is) as our universe and everything in it is only a single data point, it's a cop out.

            The anthropic principle is a lot more rigorous than people give it credit for.

            No, in fact, it's just the opposite. The anthropic principle is far, far, far less rigorous than our soceity is collectively giving it credit for. It represents an objective low point in the progress of science over

            • by thasmudyan (460603) <udo.schroeter@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:51PM (#25223741) Homepage

              I may be wrong, but isn't the term anthropic principle essentially the opposite of what you're describing? IMHO the anthropic principle just states that there is nothing special about our particular environment beyond the fact that we happen to live here and there is not much else that we have experience with?

              Sadly, religious nutjobs have completely turned around what was once an important scientific reasoning tool that existed to make sure our observations of nature are not biased towards human existence.

              The anthropic principle is the mother of all cause-and-effect observations. The obvious cause here is that we live in a certain environment with a certain set of rules and random environmental factors, as a consequence of this, we have turned out the way we are now - including our way of interpreting the world around us. Now religious people, for whatever fucked-up reason, believe our environment was actually created by someone just for us to live in, and that the purpose of our universe is to support human life - thereby turning common sense on its head by confusing cause and effect.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Statistics require multiple data points. Statistics based on one data point are called "anecdotes" or, more simply, "bullshit". We have investigated one planet very well, one planet very little, and a handful of others we've looked at from a very long distance. We can't rule out the existence of life in our own solar system, and there are billions of those in just our galaxy. Statistically speaking, there's no way in hell that we can even begin to do the math required to figure out if the anthropic principl
        • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw.yahoo@com> on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @01:10PM (#25221169) Journal

          I've always preferred the misanthropic principle, myself. "We see the universe the way we do because people are idiots."

    • Re:Being special (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 2names (531755) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:34AM (#25219539)
      Density distribution throughout the universe (ours, at least) is relative to the scale at which your measurements are made. Follow me here...

      If you get far enough away from this universe, and I'm talking 'Douglas Adams' far, this universe would appear to be perfectly uniform. However, the closer your observation point becomes, the easier it is to distinguish the clumps, bumps, peaks, valleys, troughs, etc. in the density. At a very close, human-type scale, the density changes are very easy to spot. How dense is the space between the Earth and the Moon as compared to the Earth itself?
    • Re:Being special (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LordNimon (85072) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:40AM (#25219671)

      Why is it so hard to believe? Let's say for instance I tell you that there is a one-in-a-million chance that a person will have a particular dream. Every night, 300 million Americans go to sleep. Would you find it hard to believe that at least one person has this dream every night?

      And what if you were that one person last night? Would you think you were special? You would, if you were bad at math.

      So why is it hard to believe that our planet exists in conditions that have incredibly low odds? The universe is not only more vast than anyone can imagine, it's also been around for over 13 billion years! For all you know, these "special conditions" you complain about could have happened a million times by now.

    • Re:Being special (Score:5, Informative)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:42AM (#25219699)
      But what I find hard to believe is that we are in the exact center of such a region. So therefore, the universe should appear to have different properties in different directions. Has anybody seen that?

      There's an unexplained anisotropy [wikipedia.org] in the cosmic microwave background. Hot and cold spots don't appear to be quite randomly distributed. Nobody's come up with a good explanation, and it might be an instrumentation error or due to some local gravitational anomaly - say, lensing around the next supercluster over - but at the moment it's very unclear.

    • Re:Being special (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:47AM (#25219779) Homepage

      But what I find hard to believe is that we are in the exact center of such a region.

      How exact do you think it has to be when we're talking about cosmic distances? Distances where being in the Milky Way vs Andromeda wouldn't make much difference in how the distant universe looked?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      . So therefore, the universe should appear to have different properties in different directions. Has anybody seen that?

      Oh, but it does indeed! haven't you noticed that the universe is at daylight here but at night in China?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ivandavidoff (969036)
      Boy, and what an ultimate irony it would be if the center of the bubble isn't just Earth, but the exact location of Copernicus' grave.

      Yes, this is clearly the answer. What we can observe of the universe does not jibe with what we THINK we SHOULD be observing; so, obviously, we are in the middle of an anomaly, outside of which the universe behaves the way we THINK it should behave.
    • Re:Being special (Score:5, Insightful)

      by John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:01PM (#25220025) Homepage

      We need not be at the exact center. Closer to the center than to the edge would probably suffice.

      Nor does ours need to be the only bubble: there could be billions of them. Thus we need not be unique: just not quite average (but then, being perfectly average would itself be unlikely).

    • Re:Being special (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:02PM (#25220057) Journal
      You're believing something the opposite of what the premise of the article is. The premise of the article is that we are in a bubble containing a void, not a highly dense space.

      I think we really need to restructure our underlying philosophy of what existence is. I've been chewing on this concept for years:

      This "universe" isn't infinite. It's a 4 dimensional object, with a large but quantifiable amount of mass/energy, and this mass/energy has permutations across x, y, z and t. You see a 3 dimensional object with dimensions x, y, z moving through t, but observed from outside the t dimension, it's a 4 dimensional object.

      The big bang, the singularity, is significant because at the moment that the mass/energy of the universe is in the singular state, it is identical to all the other universes. It is at this point that it "connects" to all the other universes, like petals connecting together to make a flower.

      Questions of religion, spirituality and what it means to be human start getting in your way once you start looking at things this way. Am I an aspect of this object that is my universe, or am I some sort of traveler within this object that is a universe?

      I think there's a good possibility that the missing matter and forces we hypothesize to be acting upon our universe are actually other universes influencing our own, like petals on a flower bumping into each other. And, assuming that we are "souls traveling within the universe" as opposed to "4 dimensional objects that are aspects of the universe", it isn't outside the bounds of reason to imagine that we might one day be able to map the shape of these universes and achieve "time travel" by moving to other universes.

      I expect that we will eventually find the concept of the "infinite universe" to be a false path, and that we will achieve great breakthroughs when we find a framework that doesn't rely upon its existence.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by khallow (566160)

        I expect that we will eventually find the concept of the "infinite universe" to be a false path, and that we will achieve great breakthroughs when we find a framework that doesn't rely upon its existence.

        Already happened. Our description of the laws of physics is local in nature and doesn't depend on the extent of the universe.

    • Re:Being special (Score:5, Informative)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:07PM (#25220121) Homepage Journal

      This is no harder than believing in dark matter and dark energy, and it's before breakfast

      "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so". -The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    • So therefore, the universe should appear to have different properties in different directions. Has anybody seen that?

      I was just talking about this the other day when I was in B'tslashdoaut which is in a galaxy far far away. Oddly everything there looks like the universe was created out of cheese but that could be because of the unusual configurations of solid matter with grey holes (like black holes but not as bad) all over the place.

    • Re:Being special (Score:4, Informative)

      by Artifakt (700173) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:17PM (#25220341)

      We don't necessarily have to be at or near the center of such a bubble, here's the conditions we might require:

      1. We would have to somewhere be in a bubble that is much less dense than the actual average for the universe,
      2. that bubble would have to be pretty uniformly less dense for the 12 Billion light year radius around us. It doesn't have to be exactly uniform, in fact one reason we might be able to detect it is if it isn't. The bubble doesn't have to be spherical, overall, or uniformly dense, overall, and the nature of the edge, where it becomes more like the rest of the universe is, is allowed some variation as well.
          (In fact, from what the original paper says so far, the center of the bubble could still be even less dense than our part, just so those lower density regions were more than the observable length away.)
          (If this hypothesis develops into a full fledged theory, we would probably be able at a minimum to confirm or reject the existence of even lower density regions, predict how thick the edges of the bubble are, and write an equation that describes how the density would go up, as hypothetically measured at different points in the edge.).
      3. The bubble would have to be pretty big, bigger than the time it takes light to cross the entire part of the universe we can see. Since we estimate the universe is about 12 Billion years old, the edges of the bubble must be more than that number of light years away from our POV. But, we don't have to be equally near all edges.
            (We could still possibly see some effects from what is now farther away, because we can observe things such as the cosmic microwave background, that preserve data from the very early times when things were much closer together. We could also see the indirect effects of gravity on things we can see directly in the visible, Gamma or UV ranges).
      4. We would have to be near enough to an edge in at least one direction that we could see the effects of those hypothetical average density regions that lie farther than 12 Billion light years away. That way, we may never be able to see them directly, but we can infer them from the parts we can see, so this becomes testable. So if the bubble is much bigger than 24 billion light years across, we must not be too near the center. The bigger the bubble is, the farther out from the center we would have to be to detect something, but that's still a pretty general requirement that we be somewhere in a pretty big volume, not really something improbable or requiring a particularly privledged viewpoint. Our view would be unusual, but not unique.
      5. Near enough in point 4 depends on how swiftly the edge of the bubble changes to a more average density, and just what the average is, among other factors. Again, actually coming up with some more specific numbers is what will happen if this hypothesis gets developed into a more established theory. The researchers will calculate some combinations of overall size, rate of change at the edges, and density for the larger universe, and see if there are combinations that predict something we can observe to test them, while throwing out combinations that lead to conclusions contrary to what we can observe. Better yet, a lot of our existing observations can be used to swiftly develop this hypothesis - this is much more testable right now than, say, string theory.

      • Re:Being special (Score:4, Informative)

        by f()rK()_Bomb (612162) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @01:54PM (#25221923)
        The observable universe is actually more like 96billion light years across, its a common mis-conception that because its 13.7 billions years old, its 27billion light years wide. This would b true if space was flat, but on cosmological scales, its highly curved.

        The lower bound on the size of the universe, based on the CMBR is 78billion light years, any smaller, and then light would have circumnavigated it since the big bang, and we would see multiple images in the CMBR

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe [slashdot.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pla (258480)
      So therefore, the universe should appear to have different properties in different directions. Has anybody seen that?

      Yes. The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe [wikipedia.org] looked for (and found!) exactly that.

      Now, exactly what the WMAP's findings mean... Well, physicists and cosmologists will probably argue about that for the next century. But as a scientifically-literate non-expert, I would say that an anisotropic CMB seems consistent with (though certainly doesn't require) the "bubble" theory mentioned in TF
  • "If we lived in a very large under-density, then the space-time itself wouldn't be accelerating," said researcher Timothy Clifton of Oxford University in England. "It would just be that the observations, if interpreted in the usual way, would look like they were."

    So... they're not then?

  • Occam's Razor? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by H0p313ss (811249)

    I'll apply Occam's Razor [wikipedia.org] and ask which is more likely.

    • Are we in an unusual zone so we get unusual results?
    • Is there some unknown and mysterious matter that screws up our results?

    Quite frankly I find both solutions rather silly, they sound a little too much like deus ex machina to me. I suspect the truth is still out there and when we understand it will change our view of the universe. It's happened before, it will happen again.

    • by zappepcs (820751)

      The trouble with using Occam's Razor here is that we are talking about how matter and energy interact over very long distances. The scale of it is larger than seems probable for choosing simplest answers. It seems agreed that something is distorting our measurement of how things are working, but what that is may be difficult to discern while remaining within it's distortion field.

      If indeed we are in a matter/gas/dust free bubble of space, it would rule out dark matter as the 'cataract' in the eyes of our sc

    • Re:Occam's Razor? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kisrael (134664) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:38AM (#25219631) Homepage

      My favorite alternative is that we need someone to do to Einstein what Einstein did to Newton; that just like Newton's laws are near-perfect and beautiful at reasonable speeds, maybe there's something that happens at cosmically grand distances, masses, or propagation delays for Gravity that we're going to have to be awfully clever to ever hope to reliably detect.

      Dark Matter and Dark Energy both felt like big hacks to me.

      But, I am by no means a scientist, just an interest layman who hasn't done enough reading.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by R2.0 (532027)

        "My favorite alternative is that we need someone to do to Einstein what Einstein did to Newton; that just like Newton's laws are near-perfect and beautiful at reasonable speeds, maybe there's something that happens at cosmically grand distances, masses, or propagation delays for Gravity that we're going to have to be awfully clever to ever hope to reliably detect."

        Screw that - the reason Einstein needs to go down can be summed up in one word:

        Starships.
        (and not the lameass rock band, either)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        you realize dark matter is simply the generic term applied to that missing mass we can't account for, not an actual explanation for it?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        "Dark Matter and Dark Energy both felt like big hacks to me."

        To you, perhaps. Problem is, at least in the case of Dark Matter, it's real and we've observed [wikipedia.org] it [newswise.com].

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cmat (152027)

        Dark matter and dark energy are as much "hacks" as "gravity" is; i.e. they all are names for phenomena that we observe in the universe except that we have some sort of an explanation for gravity, whereas the former two we have no (at least known to me) current consistent theories that can explain why there is unobserved extra mass in the observable universe and what is causing the observable universe to expand (accelerating the expansion). Note that both of these properties of the universe have been measur

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by DrWho520 (655973)
        Well, no more a hack than adding an arbitrary number of dimensions to the universe until all your equations work out. Oh, wait...
    • You say you'll apply Occam's razor, but then appear to reject both possibilities. I wasn't aware that Occam's razor said you could throw out any theories that sound a little too convenient.

      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        You say you'll apply Occam's razor, but then appear to reject both possibilities. I wasn't aware that Occam's razor said you could throw out any theories that sound a little too convenient.

        "the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible"

        • The problem is that Occam's Razor does not allow for mamiing fewer assumptions than possible.

          If what we think we know to be true does not explain something we observe, then either there must be something unknown as well or we must be wrong about what we think we know.

          Your assumption is that what we think we know is wrong. The dark matter, dark energy, and the sparse bubble folks are all putting forward theories and trying to validate them through experiments.

        • Re:Occam's Razor? (Score:5, Informative)

          by philspear (1142299) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:17PM (#25220351)

          I thought it was for deciding between two or more competing theories. I didn't think it could be used to reject all theories. If you have two theories, one makes two assumptions, one makes just one, it's more likely to be the one that just makes one. While both may be wrong, you can't use Occam's razor to throw BOTH of them out.

          Furthermore, you don't use it at all, or if you did, you forgot to tell us the outcome. You actually just say both sound like deus ex machina, are both silly, and we're not right yet. Didn't even mention any underlying assumptions. That's not Occam's razor, or even rational argumentation. You just have a gut instinct that they're both wrong.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by H0p313ss (811249)

            You make very valid points and I agree with many of them. However, my point here is that there are two theories, one new, one less new, that IMHO make too many assumptions. The simpler solution is that we really don't understand the problem yet and that there is a more elegant solution waiting to be found. This is the unstated third choice. I should have made that more clear... I'm blaming the cold medication.

            Is this a proper application of Occam's Razor? I'm really not sure I'd care. I'm not sure that even

    • I suspect the truth is still out there and when we understand it will change our view of the universe. It's happened before, it will happen again.

      What makes this difficult is that while it's out there, we're stuck down here.

    • I find this theory to be kind of specious myself...IANAA...so maybe some of you could help me out

      space-time around us would be different than it is outside, because matter warps space-time. Light travelling from supernovae outside our bubble would appear dimmer, because the light would diverge more than we would expect once it got inside our void.

      1. Light is affected by gravity...that's one way we find extra-solar planets...but how could it be affected in a way that it would make supernovae appear have less

    • by pilgrim23 (716938)

      Que Monty Python: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWVshkVF0S [youtube.com]

    • > Are we in an unusual zone so we get unusual results?

      If the universe is large enough there could be many such zones. If perhaps 10% of the mass in the universe is in such zones our being in one would not be particularly improbable.

    • by Tablizer (95088)

      But the chance of being in a spot that is a perfect representation of the average is rather small. The chances of being in a spot of above-average density and a spot with below-average density may even be greater than being in an average spot. This is of course unless the spot is significantly below or above he average.

      It's also possible that intelligence life is more likely to evolve in sparser areas. Dense areas may offer too much chaos for advanced life (multicellular) to take hold. Some speculate that d

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DynaSoar (714234)

      I'll apply Occam's Razor [wikipedia.org] and ask which is more likely.

      • Are we in an unusual zone so we get unusual results?
      • Is there some unknown and mysterious matter that screws up our results?

      Quite frankly I find both solutions rather silly, they sound a little too much like deus ex machina to me. I suspect the truth is still out there and when we understand it will change our view of the universe. It's happened before, it will happen again.

      Two thoughts come to mind:

      1. Deus ex machina is a term that can be applied to anything which conforms to Clark's Law ("any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"). Any spacetime/matter phenomenon that can be understood has the possibility of being controlled and therefore to become a technology, therefore Clarke's Law can be applied.

      2. "Willam of Ockham had a beard," which is to say he was not an authority in the field and the rule associated with his name fails. It is sufficientl

  • by Iowan41 (1139959) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:29AM (#25219419)
    At least as far as gas and dust are concerned. The Standard Model explanation is that a 'nearby' star (the pulsar Geminga) went supernova a good long time ago, and blasted a large bubble (300 ly across) of relatively gas and dust free space, called 'the Local Bubble', and our solar system is well within this bubble. The relationship between that and what is being discussed I do not know, for details haven't been provided even on such things as scale. Do a search on 'Local Bubble' and you will find a great deal of information about this.
    • hey, couldn't the bubble of hot gas itself account for some kind of lensing effect?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:11PM (#25220215)

      This is different bubble. The Local Bubble is rather local (tens of parsecs across) and we can easily see gas outside of it. The bubble in the story could be bigger than the visible Universe (gigaparsecs across) and thus can be fundamentally untestable. Plus, null results (that we can't see outside of this gigantic bubble) make it even more unlikely because over- and underdensities are progressively rarer as they get bigger.

  • Maybe the Large Hadron Collider can help us with this. The scientists can try to recreate this as well - after they fix the magnet issues.

  • Oh, how conveniant, a theory about the universe that doesn't involve explaining dark energy. Get back to work!

  • Somebody's been watching this episode [wikipedia.org] way too many times.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by tibman (623933)

      One of my Favorite episodes from all the Star Treks. Best part was that the time bubble around the planet prevented the inhabitants from communicating or interacting with the galaxy, their SETI program was ultimately a failure and they didn't understand why.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *
      Or this one [wikipedia.org] or this one [wikipedia.org].
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:35AM (#25219567)

    Are we in some kind a time loop / time DILATION FIELD. If we are we should use the ZPM powering it for other stuff.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by corbettw (214229)

      Are we in some kind a time loop / time DILATION FIELD. If we are we should use the ZPM powering it for other stuff.

      Yes, and then put our hands on our hips and do the pelvic thrust.

  • *We* are the people of Krikkit [wikipedia.org] and have been re-sealed in a Slo-Time envelope.

    [ Hactar is God! ]

  • by scubamage (727538) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @11:39AM (#25219657)

    I like this theory. My questions are, if our known universe is a bubble/globule of matter floating in a larger void...

    1. Where are the other globules?
    2. What happens if we hit one?
    3. Where did the globules originate?
    4. Is that larger void a super-large globule itself inside a still larger void? If so, see questions 1-4.
    • by SBacks (1286786)

      Where are the other globules?

      Outside our light cone.

      What happens if we hit one?

      We won't. They're too far away and moving much too quickly for us to ever catch them, even if we were to travel at the speed of light.

      Where did the globules originate?

      The exact cause of this phenomena is still unclear and, in fact, may never be clear. The idea is that a rapidly expanding universe would have laws of physics unrelated to our current ones, so our understanding can only go back so far. (We're talking about the first few microseconds after the big bang)

      Is that larger void a super-large globule itself inside a still larger void? If so, see questions 1-4.

      Maybe?

    • You've got it exactly backwards.

    • by gbutler69 (910166) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:25PM (#25220509) Homepage
      It's globules all the way down!
  • The question: if things only look farther away, does that make travel to other solar systems more likely? I mean, could that mean that, say, Alpha Centuri is less than the four light years away we think it is?

    The second question may answer the first: how big is this bubble?

    The observation: Further research will probably show this to be wrong (and I think it is), but AFAWK we are special in one way: we are the only planet in the universe that we know harbors life.

    • The observation: Further research will probably show this to be wrong (and I think it is), but AFAWK we are special in one way: we are the only planet in the universe that we know harbors life.

      Operational phrase being "that we know". Note that most other planets harbouring life can probably make the same assertion, with the same validity.

      Given, of course, that there are other planets harbouring life. But I'd hate to have to bet against life being found pretty much everywhere.

    • by SBacks (1286786)

      The question: if things only look farther away, does that make travel to other solar systems more likely? I mean, could that mean that, say, Alpha Centuri is less than the four light years away we think it is?

      There may be a slight effect at that short distance. However, we're talking about interglatic scale here. Its like saying "Mars may be closer than we think, so does that mean the cubical next to me may be closer as well"

      The second question may answer the first: how big is this bubble?

      BIG. Huge. Gigantic. Orders of magnitude larger than you can imagine.

  • Earth may be trapped in an abnormal bubble of space-time that is particularly void of matter. ...said George Brussard of games developer 3D Realms when asked about the possible release dates for Duke Nukem Forever.

  • I thought Slashdot had an article years ago about the possibility that our galaxy is actually inside a black hole. The cosmic microwave background radiation would then be even, produced by Hawking radiation. I forget the rest. Anybody know where that article is?

  • Dr. Crusher: "If there's nothing wrong with me, maybe there's something wrong with the universe!"

    ...

    Dr. Crusher: "Here's a question you shouldn't be able to answer: Computer, what is the nature of the universe?"
    Computer: "The universe is a spheroid region seven hundred and five meters in diameter."
  • by Keramos (1263560) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @12:22PM (#25220445)

    As mentioned in the article:

    One problem with the void idea, though, is that it negates a principle that has reined in astronomy for more than 450 years: namely, that our place in the universe isn't special. ... "This idea that we live in a void would really be a statement that we live in a special place,"

    Hold on a second...

    Current thinking is that 74 percent of the universe could be made up of this exotic dark energy, with another 21 percent being dark matter, and normal matter comprising the remaining 5 percent.

    So, being part of the 5 percent of "normal" matter isn't living in a "special place"?

  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @01:16PM (#25221279)
    but compensates for it by having more stupid.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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